00111 - Chemistry of Natural Organic Substances

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Life on land

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The course will give the student a good knowledge of the various classes of natural organic compounds and the main biosynthetic pathways leading to secondary metabolites

Course contents

Module one

  • Intermolecular forces
  • Organic stereochemistry: biological outcomes.
  • Lipids: terpenes, steroids, fatty acids, triglycerides, phospholipids, prostaglandins, lipophilic vitamins.
  • Aminoacids, peptides and proteins.
  • Carbohydrates: monosaccarides, disaccarides, polysaccarides.
  • Heterocyclic aromatic compounds.
  • Nucleobases, nucleosides, nucleotides, nucleic acids.
  • Radical species and radical reactions.

Module two

  • Primary and secondary metabolism: general notes.
  • Acetate metabolic pathway.
  • Mevalonate metabolic pathway.
  • Shikimic acid metabolic pathway.
  • Alkaloids


W.H. Brown, "Organic Chemistry", III ed (or subsequent), Cengage Learning, , 2005

P. M. Dewick, "Medicinal Natural Products", 2nd ed. John Wiley& Sons, 2002

Teaching methods


Assessment methods

The final examination, aiming atascertaining the student's acquired skills, consists of a 40 min. oral interview on 3 different topics. Candidates are allowed to choose the first topic.

Teaching tools

Presentations. Files of presentations will be available for download.

Office hours

See the website of Stefano Masiero

See the website of Susanna Guernelli